By Payman Yazdani

Possible Democratic takeover of the House unlikely to change Trump’s Iran policy: Zonis

September 24, 2018 - 11:52

TEHRAN - Professor of international political economy believes U.S. foreign policy is largely the prerogative on the President and his Secretary of State so possible Democratic takeover of the House is unlikely to change Trump’s policy towards Iran. 

There are reports that Pentagon Chief James Mattis has lost influence in the Trump administration, and his future as U.S. defense secretary is now in question, 

His eclipse is a worrying prospect for U.S. allies, whom Mattis has worked hard to reassure by mitigating Donald Trump’s unilateral actions and disparaging remarks with promises of sustained solidarity and cooperation.

In an interview we discussed the issue with Marvin Zonis, Professor of international political economy and leadership in the University of Chicago.

Here is the full text of the interview:

Q: What are the main differences between Trump and Mattis?

A: General Mattis and President Trump have both asserted recently that the general would be leaving the administration. But it is actually quite difficult to understand Trump’s feelings towards Mattis because Mattis is Trump’s favorite general. But it has been suggested that Trump is jealous of the general on the grounds that he is widely esteemed and seen as the only adult in the administration. Furthermore, Mattis has opposed many of Trump’s policy wishes. Trump wanted to assassinate Assad back in 2017. Mattis changed his mind. Mattis opposed other Trump wishes — the establishment of a space force, moving the U.S. embassy towards Jerusalem, starting the trade war and especially opposing Trump’s withdrawal from the nuclear deal with Iran. There are lots of reasons why the General wants to get out.

Q: What is the importance of upcoming Congress election for Trump? 

A: Without question, this is the crucial question for our times. There appears to be a “Blue Wave” — that is a new energy by Democratic opponents of the President. If they actually go out and vote on November 6, it is likely that Democrats will win control of the lower house — the House of Representatives. It is unlikely but possible the Democrats will win control off the upper house — the Senate. The result of a House victory would be an inability of the President to get any laws passed that he favors. A vote to impeach him is always possible. (If the House were to vote for this impeachment, he would be unlikely to be found guilty and unlikely to be forced from office because that requires 60 votes in the Senate.) But without doubt, the likely Democratic victory in the House would be a major blow to the President and his policy preferences will be thwarted.

Q: Will the result of the election affect U.S. administration’s policy toward Iran?

A: U.S. foreign policy is largely the prerogative on the President and his Secretary of State. A Democratic takeover of the House is unlikely to change his policy towards Iran. 

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